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Democratic Health Leaders Call on Departments to Hold Off on Junk Insurance Rule and Redo Dubious Analysis

Jun 1, 2018
Press Release
Members question large discrepancies between Departments’ analysis and nonpartisan analyses regarding potential damage of rule to expand junk insurance plans

Yesterday, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to Secretary Alex Azar at the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Alexander Acosta at the Department of Labor, Secretary Mnuchin at the Department of the Treasury, and Director Mick Mulvaney at the Office of Management & Budget to express their concern about the Departments’ proposed rule on short-term limited-duration insurance and the large differences between the Departments’ analysis and independent experts’ regarding the potential harm of the rule. These junk plans do not offer the consumer protections that are required under current law, and leave consumers uncovered for major medical expenses.

In the letter the members note that nonpartisan analyses, including one prepared by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chief Actuary, show the rule would have much larger and more damaging impacts than the Departments’ analysis suggests. They urge the Secretaries to hold off on finalizing the rule, update their analysis of the regulation’s economic impact, re-publish the rule following this new analysis, and re-open the rule for public comment.  

“We write to express our concern about the flawed analysis provided in the Economic Impact and Paperwork Burden section of the proposed rule on Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance (STLDI) issued on February 21, 2018 (CMS-9924-P).  This rule would affect millions of people and should not rely on a faulty, biased or incomplete analysis. There are wide differences between the analysis prepared by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury (“Departments”) and analyses prepared by nonpartisan sources that show the rule would actually cause serious harm to our health care system. We urge you to re-publish the proposed rule with an updated analysis of the regulation’s economic impact and re-open the comment period before finalizing this rule.” wrote the members.

The letter can be found HERE.